US soldiers want their own Christmas miracle.
Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Andrea Tolton was forced to leave his best friend behind in Kosovo to engage in his second deployment in Kosovo
Taulton found Axel, a 1-year-old German shepherd, in late September 2022, when he was very sick.
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Taulton told Fox News Digital that she and her partner spotted a puppy crossing the road while driving.
Tolton, who has been on active duty for seven years, jumped out of the car and rushed to get the limping dog out of harm’s way.
“Kosovo is not a very good place for dogs,” she said.
“Dogs are literally everywhere, but you find them all malnourished.”
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“At that point, I knew if I didn’t get out of the car and be the hero, this dog would be less than a minute away.”
Taulton described her bond with her dog as “a moment.”
“We made eye contact. It was like we were speaking our own language,” she said.
“He knew I was there to help him, and somehow he knew I would be a good person to him.
After she helped the dog cross the road, Toughton said the animal “flourted her with love and kisses.”
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The sergeant made the dog a bed out of leaves and sticks and fed it because it looked like it hadn’t eaten in weeks.
Taunton continued to visit Axl daily, feeding him, caring for him, and forming an inseparable bond with him.
Axel may have been hit by a car due to a hind leg injury. He also suffered from a front leg deformity.
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German Shepherds are a rare breed in Kosovo, so Taulton said he speculated that Axel was bred in the area and thrown into a cage for the first few months of his life.
This reportedly prevented his legs from developing properly.
“He walks on his wrists and his feet are like jelly,” she said.
“That’s why I named him Axel because he only had one ‘Axel’ that worked. one of his legs. ”
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Taulton was ordered to leave Kosovo on November 1 and was repatriated to the United States on November 18 and sent to her hometown of Bunker Hill, West Virginia.
That meant she was forced to say goodbye to her new best friend.
“I knew I had to figure out a way to bring him home,” she said.
Taulton immediately contacted the non-profit international rescue organization Paws of War, who brought Axel back to safety and eventually returned home with her.
“Paws of War picked him up almost immediately,” she said.
Axel is now off the road, but he’s not completely safe until he gets to America, Fox News Digital said.
The organization hopes to deliver Axel to his soldiers by the end of the year, and Taulton will be “the best Christmas present ever” for her.
“I don’t have kids, but I can only imagine what this feels like.
“I bonded with him so much, it’s like I left all my heart there,” she said.
“I can only hope that he will be home before the end of the year.” — Staff Sergeant.Andrea Thorn
“And I can’t be here with him, and I know he’s still suffering without my love somewhere in Kosovo.
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“I hope he’ll be home by the end of the year. When he gets here, I already have the whole house at home. So I can hope.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Paws of War founder Robert Misseri stressed the importance and urgency of keeping Axel out of danger in Kosovo.
“We have no choice, knowing that we can save this dog from an uncertain death and certainly a cruel existence,” he said. “
“We all must work together to make this happen for Sergeant Andrea, who has sacrificed so much for our country and others.”
Upon his arrival, Axel will need surgery on his hind leg, though there may be no fix for his deformity.
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New York-based Paws of War is currently accepting donations at pawsofwar.networkforgood.com to help transport Axel to the US and cover his medical expenses.